Serious violence, House of Commons, 15 May 2019

Tackling serious violent crime is a key priority for councils. It has become even more vital due to rising levels of this type of crime and the harm it causes to victims and young people drawn and exploited into committing it.


Key messages

  • Tackling serious violent crime is a key priority for councils. It has become even more vital due to rising levels of this type of crime and the harm it causes to victims and young people drawn and exploited into committing it. This complex issue requires a multi-agency partnership approach including education, health, social services, housing, youth services, victim services, charities, local government, and law enforcement.
  • Councils have taken the lead on tackling serious violent crime in our communities. They have been working hard to developed strong local partnerships with the police, social care, safeguarding teams, schools, the voluntary sector.
  • The risk of being exploited or involved in violent crime can be reduced with the correct interventions. Alongside health and education partners, local authorities are well placed to take advantage of ‘reachable and teachable moments’ and identify which interventions are most effective and how they can be implemented.
  • In our report on family violence and links with youth offending , we identified certain risk factors that could affect a child or young person being exploited or involved in violent crime. These could include frequent truancy, levels of poverty and deprivation, and experiences of family violence.
  • Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can be at risk. The Children Commissioner’s report on the characteristics of children and young people associated with gangs found that 40 per cent have an identified special educational need . We need to ensure there is significant and sustainable funding to address the demand in support from pupils with SEND so they are fully supported in school.
  • A recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Knife Crime and Youth Services suggested a growing link between cuts to youth services and the country’s knife crime epidemic. Councils must be given the resources they need to work with young people and prevent their involvement in crime in the first place, rather than simply picking up the pieces after offences have been committed. Government needs to address this in the forthcoming Spending Review.
  • The statistics on reductions to council’s budgets since 2010 are stark and councils have had to prioritise spending on statutory services, to the detriment of other public services. Whilst announcements of new funds are welcome, this should not replace the core funding required to support integral local government services.
  • The Government has announced a series of separate pots of funding that local partnerships could bid for to support and protect children and young people from criminal activity, including funding through the Serious Violence Strategy, the Early Intervention Youth Fund, the Trusted Relationships Fund, and the Youth Endowment Fund.
  • The Government has also announced of a new package of support for domestic abuse survivors, including placing a legal duty on councils to deliver accommodation-based support. It is important that the final package ensures local authorities are supported in their work going forward. It must provide flexibility to ensure services can be tailored to the needs of different areas.
  • Sustainability is a key part of this process and we need clarity on funding to sustain community support and youth violence prevention work. At the time the Serious Violence Strategy was launched in April 2018, councils were still waiting to receive their youth justice grant allocations for 2018/19. The Government must also ensure funding for the Troubled Families Programme is continued beyond 2020.

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Serious violence, House of Commons, 15 May 2019